I'm writing this on 23rd July 2020 and lockdown is beginning to come to an end. We're allowed to leave our houses, Boris will soon be retracting his 'work from home' orders and pubs, tattoo salons and hairdressers are all open for business. Now seems like a pretty good time for us to look back on lockdown, the good and the bad times, but to also look forward to how we'll keep ourselves safe outside of lockdown.
At first, lockdown was really difficult for me. I didn't realise it until my manager pointed it out. I thought I was managing just fine, coping with working from home and staying inside, but I understand now that I was just managing - managing isn't the same as being fine. I was getting easily stressed and frustrated, I was unmotivated and forcing myself to do more work than I was mentally capable of which made me more frustrated and that bad mental state would last me for a few days. It ended up that I got less work done than if I'd just given myself a break and taken some time to get back in a good headspace. I think after recognising this, I started to be kinder to myself and that made lockdown easier for me. Since then, I've been okay. I've been coping and I really have been fine.
What I've missed most is people. I'm not usually a very extroverted person, I'm quite shy and introverted and enjoy my own company. I don't need to go out every weekend and be with people. But I miss people - I didn't think that I would, but I do. I miss going for a meal with my best friend when she's on holiday from university, I miss going to someone's house for a cuppa and a chat, I miss hugging family friends when you see them in the street. I'm a very touchy feely emotionally driven person so not being able to hug and kiss people or even just stand less than 2m away from them has been really hard - not being able to see them at all has been even harder. I haven't seen my best friend at all for nearly 8 months and I hate it.
Although I'm glad that the restrictions are easing so I will be able to start seeing people again and standing less that 2m away from them, I'm also scared. I'm that annoying person on Facebook who's like 'you mark my words, in October we'll be back in lockdown with a second wave.' I don't want to be that person but I truly believe that we will have a second wave. People weren't obeying the rules when we were in lockdown, they were still going to parks and beaches and gathering in large crowds. So now that they're actually allowed to do that, it's going to happen more because technically they aren't doing anything wrong. But just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should.
Of course I hope that we don't have a second wave and we can start getting back to normal - or at least the new normal. So here are some things you can do to continue to stay safe and reduce the spread. They may just seem like the things the government has already told you to do, but it's important.
So be safe, friends. One day, everything will actually feel okay again and we'll be hugging our friends and look back on this and think 'remember that time when we weren't allowed to touch?'
We'll get there.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.